Trucking accidents are handled differently than regular car accidents. When you are in a two-driver accident, who is at fault and liable typically is easy to discern. For trucking accidents, though, things can easily become pretty complex. Just like in automobile accidents, who is responsible for any damages and injuries is guided by the doctrine of negligence; however, because in trucking accidents there might be many people who can be found liable, knowing who is responsible for paying isn’t always as clear-cut.
Trucking accidents also differ from most automobile accidents due to the severity of the injuries and damages that can result. Since a truck can weigh anywhere from 80,000 pounds or more and a car is typically around 4,000 pounds, you can easily see why someone is bound to get severely injured. There are many factors that lead to trucking accidents, like poor visibility and overworked truckers on tight schedules with very little rest, which can put car drivers at risk.
Also, a lot more goes into the maintenance of a semi-truck or big rig, which means that there is a greater likelihood that if the truck isn’t maintained correctly, the trucker has a higher risk of having an accident. For example, if the trucker is speeding and the brakes are not in tip-top shape, it can be a recipe for disaster.
How do you identify who is at fault and liable?
When you are in a trucking accident, the first step you have to take is to identify who the defendant is and who is liable for paying for your damages and injuries. There are often many entities that can be held liable, from the government officials who were responsible for inspection, businesses who owned and operated the trucks, to the individual truck driver. To figure out who you need to claim as the defendant, you will first need to document who is responsible and should be named in the suit.
Since there is a lot of complexity involved in identifying who should be named in the lawsuit, if you don’t have experience in trucking accidents, you should find someone who does. It isn’t enough to find someone who is a personal injury auto accident attorney; you will want to find someone who specifically handles trucking accidents. Since anyone from the manufacturer of the trucker to the person who was responsible for maintaining the truck might be liable, you might be missing out big-time if you don’t know who is involved.
Proving who is liable and what your damages are
When you are in a trucking accident, you are entitled to both economic and noneconomic damages, so things like your medical bills and any economic loss from lost wages are all recoverable. You can also recover things like emotional distress and pain and suffering.
As the plaintiff, you must prove that the trucking company, the truck driver, the mechanic, or anyone else who was involved in the truck or the operation of it, is responsible for your damages and injuries. You do so by proving the doctrine of negligence. Negligence is when someone either does something directly that causes the accident, or they fail to take action, and that failure to act directly led to your accident. Once you can prove who was negligent, then the second step is proving the severity of your injuries and damages.
To recover for your damages and injuries, you are going to need all the documentation that you can get, from doctors’ bills to personal journals about the suffering you went through. The more evidence you can gather to present the better. Your personal injury truck accident attorney will be your best guide to ensure that you have what is necessary, not just to prove that you were injured, but to show the extent of your injuries and to prove them in a court of law.
Trucking accidents are different from other types of auto accidents in many ways, but especially in the severity of the injuries and damages that typically result. If you have been involved in a truck accident, it is best to find a good truck accident lawyer to help walk you through the complexity of identifying who is responsible and liable and proving your case.